7 Sep 2011

Mock Marshalls parliament for women marred by 'backward thinking'

1:17 pm on 7 September 2011

At a mock parliament for women in the Marshall Islands, which aimed to help boost female representation in politics, a group of male parliamentarians ordered all the chairs in the chamber be removed.

Of the 27 female participants, six have been nominated to run in the upcoming election in November.

One of the delegates who took part in the mock session, Marie Maddison, was angered by what she calls backward thinking, and says the reason they weren't allowed to use the chairs was because they were women.

"The difficulties we encountered had to do with using the chairs - we had to bring in chairs from outside the chamber. After working for gender equality all these years I thought we were really making progress. All of us were really upset even a number of the parliamentarians who agreed with us were also very upset. They said they are going to bring this up when the Nitijela comes back into session."

The mock parliament was spearheaded by Nitijela staff and the Ministry of Internal Affairs with support from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme.